Articles by ZardukZarakhil 3

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  • Dwarven Holds Review v1.0

    After months of hard work by everyone involved in the project, we finally have a finished Dwarven Holds Army Book. The blood, sweat and tears that has helped forge this has been immense and everyone involved from the Army Book Commitee and Army Support who have crafted, discussed, collated and argued, to the community and playtesters providing feedback, and the Rules Team and Balancing board providing the drive and guidance, can be proud of what they have achieved so far.

    Army Wide Rules + Army Special Rules
    The Hewn out of Mountains rule is elegant in my opinion, representing Dwarven innate resistence to magic it is surprising how often it will have an effect in a game, either by causing the opponent to use 1 extra dice to cast spells or when they fail to cast by that single one. The Ancient Grudge rule is a good bonus for all combat based lists, the Hatred being particularly effective if the begrudged unit is combo charged. Relentless helps infantry march across the board to contest objectives while Sturdy and Shieldwall provide nice bonuses in combat when charging, standing and shooting and receiving a charge to the front. The Holdstone is very nice as it increases a units durability in combat by synergising with Shieldwall, while providing the ability to make supporting attacks to the Flank and Rear can be a nice bonus in that combat. The most important aspect is that other characters or champions within the unit can accept challenges to prolong the use of the Holdstone. Entrench is a nice little protection to War Machines while Yer Comin' with me! and The Bigger They Are all are effective on Seeker characters and units.

    Battle Runes
    These runes provide a unique magic phase to the Dwarven Holds army. There are pros and cons to it, with every Rune being short range and a buff for the target it requires practice to get the most out of the Dwarven magic phase. Gleaming, Reckoning and Resilience can be powerful in the right situation, while Resolve, Metal and Oaths are somewhat more situational in my opinion.

    Runic Items
    A staple of the Dwarven Holds, they can craft their own unique magic items using the Runes. With a max of 3 runes per item, no repeat combinations and no repeat of one of a kind runes in the army there are so many ways to tailor your characters and lists using these Runes.


    All Dwarf characters are tough, resilient and well armoured, they each fill a role within an army list.

    The King is the leader of the Hold and the general of the army with his Ld10. He is tough and can put up a good fight in combat with a good selection of runic items. Buff him with Shieldbearers and he starts to pack an even better punch. However with the Warthrone upgrade he really starts to be very intimidating, he can be runed up to give almost any opponent pause about getting into a fight with him, and the bonuses of Swiftstride and the Ancient Grudges can make him really effective in aggressive combat lists. Unfortunately as a balancing mechanism it does mean no war machines in the special section.
    The Thane is similar to the King in that he is a good leader particularly for smaller forces, with his Clan Leader he can really buff the right Clan Warrior unit. He is great as a BSB and with the reduced hero weapon Runes there are some nice combinations available.
    Daemon Seekers are pure glass cannons, with the right runic combinations and upgrades he can put the fear into most opponent monsters and combat characters. Seeker characters are the only Dwarven characters who can take runed paired weapons. The +1A & +1I combined with Grim Resolve and Monster Seeker give a great base for Runic combinations to build upon. However with only a 6+ ward save for defence, maximising the effectiveness of their attacks and their speed are important as is giving them the opportunity to reach combat with an accompanying Seeker unit.
    Dragon Seekers are similar to Daemonseekers, but at a reduced cost they are so effective for their points it is hard to overlook them in many combat lists.
    Runic Masters are the surest way of having a competitive Magic Phase in the Dwarven army. With enough points he can compete with most other magic phases but it will always suffer due to the Bound Spell effect. These guys with a Rune of Brilliance can provide good magic support to key combat blocks. On their own they are unlikely to affect much more than that but teamed with an Anvil of Power there can be some good synergies once you know how to navigate the Dwarven Magic Phase. They can make good tanking Generals, so can synergise with Kingsguard by not taking up lots of unit space, while being tough enough to give them Bodyguard as long as he is alive. The bonuses they grant both passively and via spells can really tip a combat in the Dwarves favour.
    Runic Smiths are trainee Masters, and as such are not as proficient in casting spells, although the bonuses their spells may add to a unit are nice they are… [Read More]
  • Anvilheart watched as the Deep Watch carried out their pre battle routines. Charged by Runic Master Thomm Brighthelmstone to guard the ancient artifact, The Anvil of Power, they fulfilled their duty with steady assurance. It took 4 stout warriors to carry the massive, indestructible metal Anvil to its plinth stone set on top of a small mound. While they strenuously laboured, the remainder of the Deep Watch raised the Sentinel Stones. These mighty pillars of stone would guard the anvil once it was awakened.

    Their tasks complete all the Deep Watch filed past one of their members, he had been selected by the Runes on the eve of the battle and it was his task to awaken the ancient artifact. With silent solemnity each Deep Watch member gripped the Chosen warriors forearm and gave a respectful nod. Once all had passed the Chosen warrior turned and took up the sacred Rune staff, he climbed the mound and took up position behind the mighty Anvil.

    Anvilheart took his position with the Deep Watch, he tingled with anticipation. He had heard stories of the power of the Anvils, but had never before witnessed it. An Anvil was unique, its magic and power far beyond the understanding of todays Dwarves. It was a power from another age. Each Holds Anvil was different in how it looked and functioned. With trepidation Anvilheart watched the Chosen warrior slowly raise the Runic Staff, and bring it down on the Anvil.

    Imperceptibly a soft ring floated down from the mound, soft and tender it could barely be heard above the breeze gently blowing across the battlefield. Despite this the sound of the Anvil being struck resonated deep within Anvilheart, as if it reached inside him and touched his very soul. Without pausing the Chosen warrior raised the staff and smoothly brought it down again, once more the blow resonated through Anvilhearts bones. With each repetitive blow on the Anvil, the sound became imperceptibly louder, over and over the Anvil was struck, without pause or hesitation, without tiredness, each strike resonating down to the very depths of all the Dwarves there. After a hundred blows every Dwarf lined up for battle could feel every blow as if it was their own heartbeat.

    After 200 blows the ringing sound was now loud enough to carry across the Dwarven lines, sounding out the Dwarven forces togetherness, each blow matching the Dwarves heartbeat, united for the coming conflict. After 500 blows the ringing was loud enough to carry across to the enemy lines, each blow was accompanied by a crackling sound and a smell of ozone now as the Anvil began to truly awaken. With each blow on the Anvil, the Runes began to flicker and spark, incrementally getting brighter and louder, nearing 1000 blows the sound of each blow echoed across the battlefield, sounding out the Dwarven forces resolve and spelling doom on their enemy, by now the Chosen warrior and the mound he stood on were bathed in a bright white glow as the Anvil runes were now glowing brightly, and increasing in intensity with each blow. Finally with the 1000th blow the Anvil awakened fully, a massive blast like the largest Thunderstrike anyone had heard ripped across the battlefield, accompanied by an explosion of light so bright no one could watch it.

    After that split second where he had been forced to look away, Anvilheart turned back. Gone was the Chosen warrior, in his place was a strange Dwarf in antiquated armour, the Anvil now was suspended in a crackling ball of energy 10ft or more off the ground, from which streams of crackling, snaking lightning thundered into the back of the Sentinal Stones, their engraved faces, facing outwards were now alive with Runic light and energy, these mighty stones would protect the Anvil during the coming conflict.

    As one the Dwarven force stepped forth, aware without being told that this was the signal for the battle to commence. Focussing on the enemy, Anvilheart put aside any thoughts he might have had for the Chosen warrior. He knew that only the mightiest Runic Masters could tame the Anvils power and that whatever happened in the battle, the Anvil would be found afterwards on its plinth stone, unscathed, with the Runic Staff beside it, but that all sign of the Chosen warrior would have disappeared. His sacrifice granting the Dwarves a greater chance of success today.

    Zarduk [Read More]
  • Having had my hobby passion reignited since discovering the 9th Age i have started painting again after an extremely fallow 2015, what i hope to do is manage to complete about 500pts every 2 months or so. Hopefully this will help me paint up most of my unfinished collection/lesser used options (as well as allowing me to start to experiment with greenstuffand conversions).

    Anvilheart observed the small expeditionary force under his command as they settled round the evening campfire, the low grumble from the Greybeards reminiscing was interspersed with laughter as one of the Warriors told a humerous anecdote over his mug of ale. Anvilheart kept himself slightly apart, the burden of command lying heavily upon his shoulders. Captivated by the flickering dance of the campfire flames he stared into its depths as he remembered the meeting that had led to him being here.

    Runic Master Thomm Brighthelmstone, brother to the King, was an imposing figure, wise and powerful in the Runes he stood behind his Anvil of Power fixing the young Runic Smith before him with a stern gaze. His deep sonorous voice broke the silence cutting through the tension. 'The Runes have indicated the importance of the contested lands to the East, and the King has decided the Clan must act to secure the vital region. I have been tasked with the honour of planning this expedition and ensuring its success.' Leaning forward the Runic Master placed both his hands on the magical Anvil 'You are my most promising student but we both know that many would not accept you as things stand, so i am giving you the task of leading the expeditionary force that will trail blaze the route while i finalise the final logistics here. You will command a small force and find a suitable base for the larger force following behind. You may face conflicts on route or in defence of the base site. This is your chanceto prove your ability and justify my faith in you. If this goes well we may be able to avoid the shame that some would look to impose on you.'

    Walking round the Anvil Thomm gestured for his trainee to follow him 'I will introduce you to Old Steine, who will be your second in command.' He paused at the door and looked down intently at his short (for a Dwarf) trainee 'I will introduce you as "Anvilheart", until you have proven yourself you must remain disguised, so ensure you keep your armour and helmet with you at all times. Keep up the charade of an accident resulting in horrific scars as the excuse for this.' After pausing to ensure his point had been understood he continued 'Old Steine has seen alot and his experience will be invaluable to you, so listen to him but trust your judgement and your ability to read the Runes.'

    Anvilheart was broken out of his reverie by the approach of Old Steine 'Ah laddie, scars or no, you will feel better with a mug of ale down you. There is no shame in your scars, take your helmet off and join me' The old Greybeard smiled through his luxurious white beard. Anvilheart declined the offer with a shake of his head 'Any news of tomorrow?' he asked, his harsh husky voice further distorted by his helmet. Old Steine nodded ' Aye the lads on sentry have spotted other campfires out on the plains, we may face opposition tomorrow.'

    The first 500pts or so
    The leader of the expeditionary force 'Anvilheart' the Runic Smith

    Volks Hearthguard, warriors with precision throwing axes

    Old Steine's Silverguard, greybeards with mighty axes

    Well supported by the Ballista, Giants Needle

    A standing stone, nice little objective marker

    The full expeditionary force of Clan Brighthelmstone

    Zarduk [Read More]